No matter how much you want them to stay adorable kittens, every cat eventually grows up to become an adorable senior. In fact, thanks to improvements in medical care and nutrition, cats are now living longer and healthier lives than ever before.
But as they age, your cat’s needs can change. By staying aware of the common signs of aging in cats and making a few adjustments to help them stay comfortable, you can turn your cat’s older years into their golden years.
Signs of aging in senior cats
Every feline is unique, but cats are usually considered senior once they reach 7 years old. Your older cat isn’t going to start leaving the blinker on or hiking their pants up to their armpits, but there are signs that may indicate your cat is getting on in years.
Changes in weight
Older cats often eat less as their senses of smell and taste diminish. Sudden weight loss or gain could be a sign that something is off.
Low energy and listlessness
We all know cats love to sleep, but if yours is sleeping more than usual and doesn’t show the same interest in playing or other activities, it could indicate lower energy levels. Not being able to jump or climb to their favorite spots could be a sign of arthritis as well.
It’s a good idea to check your older cat’s teeth more often, looking for any changes in appearance. If they’re pawing at their mouth or aren’t eating as much, it could mean something is amiss. If you suspect there’s an issue, consult your vet.
Enjoying your cat’s golden years together
With a few simple changes, you can keep your older cat happy and comfortable for many years to come — here’s how.
It can be harder for older cats to groom themselves as thoroughly as before. You can lend a helping hand by giving them regular brushings. Make sure to keep their nails trimmed, too. It’s a great way to spend some extra quality time together.
After years of leaping onto the kitchen counter when you weren’t looking, your senior kitty might have trouble getting to their favorite spots. You may want to place a ramp or folding steps near their favorite couch or bed so they don’t have to jump as much. Make sure they have easy access to their food and litter box, too. Adding a litter box on each floor of your house can help prevent accidents.
Routines are relaxing
Older cats love their routines. The more you’re able to keep things consistent and predictable, the calmer and less frightened they’ll be.
Scheduled vet visits
One cat year is like four human years, so a lot can happen in that span, especially in older cats. More frequent vet exams can detect health issues before they become serious.
Cats crave warmth. Make sure your grandcat has access to a number of sunny spots or heating vents to keep them toasty. Leave comfortable, warm blankets around your home for lounging, and consider bumping up the thermostat a degree or two for them — even though their favorite furnace will always be your lap.
adp_related_article_block333 488 YOUR --spice-- MAY ALSO LIKE …
adp_related_article_block333 Continue scrolling for next content
Cats are known for being a bit choosey about what they will and won’t do. And a little pickiness is fine when it comes to picking out toys and napping spots! But if your cat is or becomes extra-selective about what they’ll eat, it’s time to pay attention and perhaps talk to your vet. You and your vet know your cat best, so it’s always worth checking in if you think your cat isn’t eating enough and want their professional advice.
Start by paying close attention to what your cat is eating and how they behave. This information will help you, your household and your vet work together to make sure your cat is living and eating well.
Feeding Tips for the Truly Finicky Cat
Pay Attention to All the Cat Treats
Is your cat begging for table scraps or holding out on eating until you offer treats? Extras like these can be very disruptive to your cat’s appetite and diet. Think about them like snacks or desserts for you — tasty cravings that are easy to fill up on. A small portion may not seem like much, but it can make a big different for a cat-sized digestive system!
Try dialing back how much you treat your cat to tasty extras and see if their interest in the food bowl starts to return. Remember, it’s generally all right for cats to skip a few meals, but if they haven’t eaten for 24-36 hours it’s time to call the vet (even if they’ve continued drinking water).
Review Your Cat’s Food Routine
Humans often crave variety in their meals, but for cats, routine is king. It’s not likely they’d avoid their regular food out of boredom with it, but if you’ve recently changed the kind of food, the number of feedings or the times you feed your cat, they may be avoiding eating as a response.
It's a good idea to change your cat’s diet gradually (unless your vet advises otherwise). Pickiness can often be resolved by helping your cat adjust and get comfortable with their updated diet!
Help Your Cat Relax While Feeding
If your cat starts eating less, you may want to look for factors that could be causing stress. Seemingly unrelated changes to their environment can shift your cat’s stress levels enough to impact their interest in food. Has another animal or person joined or left the household? Has your cat been adapting to new surroundings due to a move or renovation? As the stress of that change begins to subside, your cat will probably go back to a normal diet.
Talk to your vet about good ideas for reducing your cat’s stress levels and share any concerns you have about their diet then too. You’re both on the same team, so work together to help your cat feel better!
adp_related_article_block13 301 YOUR --spice-- MAY ALSO LIKE …adp_related_article_block13Continue scrolling for next content